We Just Got A First Look At ‘The Last Of Us’ Season 2 (And It Looks Seriously Tense)

the last of us
We Just Got A First Look At ‘The Last Of Us’ S2Courtesy HBO - HBO

*Warning: This article contains spoilers*

Following its release in January 2023, HBO’s adaptation of the award-winning PlayStation game, The Last Of Us, firmly became one of last year’s must-see shows.

Taking place in a post-apocalyptic America, 20 years after civilisation has been ravaged by a mutant fungus, the show follows the story of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), as the former attempts to smuggle her out of the quarantine zone to save humanity.

The adaptation of the video game quickly became HBO’s second largest debut, falling only behind Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon in viewership. The show was such a word-of-mouth hit that it also experienced a 22% increase in viewership from its first episode to its second, which is the biggest increase for an HBO original drama in history.

A year after the show's launch, if you're still reeling from that cliff-hanger ending, you're not alone - we are too. Luckily, however, we have quite a bit of intel about what might go down in season two. Here’s everything we know so far…

Has The Last Of Us season 2 been confirmed?

Yes! The Last Of Us was so popular when it premiered on HBO in January 2023 that it was renewed for a second season before its third episode had even aired. Now that’s what we call a hit show.

Per Variety, executive producer Neil Druckmann – who was also the writer and creative director of the original PlayStation game – was understandably delighted with the show’s success, saying: ‘I’m humbled, honoured, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations. Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two!’

What will be the plot of The Last Of Us season 2?

Following the shock ending of season one, the fate of Joel, Ellie and humanity at large hangs in the balance – but for fans of the original game, it didn’t come as a surprise at all. The Last Of Us stayed incredibly faithful to the first PlayStation game, even recreating certain scenes down to the smallest detail.

The show’s co-creator Craig Mazin has strongly suggested he will follow suit with season two – meaning the plot is likely replicate that of the game’s Part II, which takes place five years later and centres around the now-19-year-old Ellie who is living with Joel in Jackson, Wyoming.

If you’re seriously set on ruining the entire (potential) plot for yourself, then here is a brief overview of what happens in The Last Of Us Part II. In the game, we follow Ellie on a mission of revenge after Joel is gruesomely murdered in front of her by a woman named Abby. Once their paths finally cross and Ellie meets her target, the timeline begins again – but this time, from Abby’s perspective. Part II plays with flashbacks and backstories, blurring the lines between which side is ‘good’ and ‘bad’, as Ellie struggles with losing herself to this mission of vengeance.

It’s not all bad news, however, as Mazin has also stated season two ‘will be different’ from the game’s Part II. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Mazin said: ‘Sometimes it will be different radically, and sometimes it will be [barely] different at all. But it’s going to be different and it will be its own thing. It won’t be exactly like the game.’

This will come as a relief for fans who were worried about having to say goodbye to Joel so soon. For what would The Last Of Us be without the glorious Pedro Pascal to wonder at? Here’s hoping his survival is one of the ‘radical differences’ Mazin was talking about.

However, as of March 2024, a rumour that Pedro Pascal has already finished filming season two has sent fans spiralling. It has alarmed viewers because the season has reportedly only been shooting for a few weeks and is expected to continue for months, into the summer season. If Pascal is finished filming, does that mean Joel is barely in season two?

HBO has said that the rumour is 'not accurate', but people are worried that it means the show will follow the game's plot when it comes to Joel's murder. Then again, the story might be completely unfounded, or there could be an explanation – perhaps Pascal is returning to the set at a later date, for example.

Appearing on the Scriptnotes podcast, Mazin further elaborated on the plot for the sophomoric season. When asked about the 'twists and turns' that fans of the show have anticipated ahead of the second season, he said they are '28% correct.'

'I’ve been monitoring things on the internet a little bit, people are very clever, they like to see where we’re shooting and then they have all these brilliant theories about what it means,' he said. 'I wish I could put my arm around each one of them and say, "No." Most of the theories are incorrect, some of them are halfway correct, some of the conjecture is like 28% correct. But I do enjoy it all, I like the interest, it's fun.'

Speaking with GQ, showrunner Neil Druckmann also seemed to confirm that the events of Part II will extend over ‘more than one’ season – meaning there will hopefully be plenty more episodes of The Last Of Us on the horizon.

One thing we know for sure is that the script will be stellar. Apparently, moments of improvisation on set are few and far between, although Mazin and Druckmann have revealed that one key line in season 1 was ad libbed by Pascal.

Speaking on HBO's The Last of Us Podcast, the co-creators discussed an emotional scene in episode 6, in which Joel breaks down to his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna). Joel tears up telling Tommy that he is having disturbing dreams, and when his brother asks him what they are about he replies: 'I can't remember. I just know that when I wake up, I've lost something. I'm failing in my sleep.'

This may be a small moment, but it's a memorably moving show of vulnerability from this complex, emotionally reticent character. 'That was obviously a hard monologue to write,' says Mazin. 'But the [lines], "I have dreams ... All I know is that when I wake up, I know I've lost something", that was something from Pedro directly.'

Who will make up the cast of The Last Of Us season 2?

Let’s be honest, here: the main question is, will we be treated to more hours of gazing at Pedro Pascal in season two? Luckily, the answer is yes. Though, as mentioned before, we’re not sure for quite how long…

Bella Ramsey is also set to return as Ellie, as recent leaked pictures from the set of the sophomoric season have confirmed. Druckmann also confirmed Ramsey's return speaking with Entertainment Weekly in March 2023. ‘The only way we would ever, ever consider re-casting Bella is if she said “I don’t want to work with you guys anymore,”’ he said. ‘And even then, we’re not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season two.’

Booksmart actress Kaitlyn Dever is also confirmed to be joining season two as vengeful soldier Abby who, in the video game sequel The Last Of Us Part II, comes into deadly conflict with Ellie. In a press release accompanying the news of Dever's casting, Mazin and Druckmann said: 'Our casting process for season two has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material. Nothing matters more than talent, and we’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn join Pedro, Bella and the rest of our family.'

Schitt's Creek and Beetlejuice star Catherine O'Hara has also been added to the growing list of actors joining the HBO hit, although her role has, as yet, been undisclosed. Madame Web's Isabela Merced and Beef's Young Mazino have also been added to the cast for the second season. Merced will portray Dina, described as 'a free-wheeling spirit whose devotion to Ellie will be tested by the brutality of the world they inhabit,' while Mazino will portray Jesse, 'a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost.'

Is there a release date for The Last Of Us season 2?

Speaking at a press event in New York, HBO executive Casey Bloys, confirmed that the WGA writers strike had impacted production on the show, whose release date has as a result been moved back a year, according to Variety.

Although, per Variety, on November 2, 2023, Bloys confirmed production was expected to start in February 2024 and that was indeed the case.

Ramsey told The Jonathan Ross Show in 2023 that filming hadn’t yet begun for season two, and so the show likely won’t premiere until ‘the end of 2024, early 2025’. Eek! In the meantime, we’ll be scouring the internet for clues of what to expect – and crossing our fingers that filming wraps miraculously ahead of schedule.

Is there a trailer for The Last Of Us season two?

Not yet, but watch this space.

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